This is an interview with Steve Frank, the owner of evolution 360°.
I was introduced to Steve through a mutual business acquaintance who knew that I’m always looking to meet knitters who don’t fit the traditional image of knitters. He’s an athlete, an entrepreneur, and a dad. What I discovered was that while Steve appears to be different from many knitters on the outside, what he has in common with the rest of the knitting community is, well. . . everything. It’s the “why” of knitting that makes people want to knit and keeps them knitting, no matter what.
Ilana: Tell me a little about how you spend your time and what kind of work you do.
Steve: When I started my career I expected to go into politics. I had a Masters in Urban Economic Development from Harvard and my goal was to run for public office. When I got married, I decided that going into politics was not going to lead to the type of family life that I wanted to create. I took a job in marketing and branding, but after 20 years the changes that took place in that company made me realize I wanted to work for myself. I had served in a “coach-like” role in many organizations, serving as a cycling coach for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and I realized that helping others to gain clarity and intention around their goals was something that I really enjoyed doing. So, I went back to school to get certified as a Professional Coach and built my coaching and consulting business. In my practice, I translate the life lessons I learned as an avid cyclist and branding professional to help others become more effective leaders of their professional and personal lives.
Ilana: When did you start knitting?
Steve: I started about three years ago. While coaching for the Leukemia and Lymphona Society and one of cyclists was holding a fund-raiser at a local knitting store. I had been wanting to knit for some time, but could never seem to bring myself to walk in to a knitting store. I knew this was the perfect opportunity! I looked at the process and was fascinated and wanted to learn. I tried knitting at that fundraiser and by the end of the evening my hands felt like cement claws. I went home that night and I put it aside the start of my scarf. I picked it up a few times over the next week. Then, a few months later, I realized I really had a desire to knit so I went back to that same local yarn shop. They took their time working with me and I made a one color scarf. Then I made a two-color hat for my son and a very complicated infinity scarf for my daughter. Between July and December of that year I made 6 more hats and gave them as holiday gifts.
Ilana: What brought you back to knitting after initially being frustrated?
Steve: First of all, I had a way to learn in person from a patient teacher at a local knit shop. The rhythmic movement of the hands and the ability to create things was enticing. I’m a meditator and I noticed that the effect of knitting was like meditation. Knitting brings me to my Zen place. I find that effect from cycling and this was just another way to center myself, especially during those Michigan winter days that don’t always lend themselves to cycling.
Ilana: How do you find the time to knit?
Steve: It’s a great way to be productive when I otherwise wouldn’t be. I put on a football game, grab a beer and knit. I knit between clients, even if all I have is a few minutes.
Ilana: Can you describe any way that knitting has helped you?
Steve: I used to hate flying and I started flying a lot for work. I couldn’t read because it required too much focus and actually caused some motion sickness for me. Now I have no stress when I fly. I don’t care if I’m delayed. I don’t mind take-offs or landings, which used to stress me out, a bit, especially if the least bit turbulent. Now, I usually start knitting as soon as I get settled in my seat. A great side benefit has been some of the conversations that knitting on a plane has led to with other passengers.
Ilana: Is there anything else that keeps you knitting when there are so many other activities competing for your time?
Steve: I’ve always been creative but never believed I had any talent at drawing or creating artwork. Knitting is a creative outlet and it’s something I can do. The stuff I knit comes out well. It’s very satisfying. I find that even when I decide to deviate from the pattern because I have a different vision, I really like what I make…and, others seem to, as well. But, overall, the thing that keeps me knitting is the centering effect it has on me. I’m in my happy place when I knit…so, why wouldn’t I knit?
Are you an unexpected knitter or crocheter? Tell us in the comments.